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Pregnancy and Maternity Leave – what you need to know

Posted on Friday, 12th July 2013 by

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There is greater protection against discrimination for individuals who are pregnant or on maternity leave from work. One of these rights is that the employer cannot discriminate against individuals because they are either pregnant or on maternity leave, meaning that they cannot dismiss, demote or discipline any individual because they are pregnant or on maternity leave.

If you take any time off during your pregnancy due to illness resulting from your pregnancy or a miscarriage this should not be counted towards your sickness record. It is important that this time off is recorded and is best if you keep a record for yourself. If you are subsequently disciplined or dismissed due to your sickness record throughout your pregnancy this may be discrimination.

If you are unable to work due to illness relating to your pregnancy, you do not have an automatic right to full pay, just the usual sick pay policy as stated in your contract. You also have the right to keep your contract terms and conditions, but you do not have an automatic right to full pay whilst on maternity leave unless stated so in your contract.

During your pregnancy your employer must allow you to take paid time off to attend ante-natal care appointments which includes ante-natal classes and medical examinations, as long as the time requested is reasonable.

Also, an employer cannot refuse to employ an individual because they are pregnant, the decision must be made based on the whether the individual has the skills to complete the job. The employer does not need to be informed by an applicant that they are pregnant when they apply for the position. However, if knowledge of your pregnancy causes the employer to change their mind about their selection or offer of work, this may be discrimination.

Fertility treatments including in vitro fertilisation (IVF) are not including in the right to paid time off, however once a fertilised embryo has been implanted, you will be legally pregnant and therefore entitled to all the above protection for pregnant women and those on maternity leave.

Andrew is a Commercial & Employment Law solicitor in Leicester. Our Solicitors in Leicester are experts in their fields and dedicated to quality client care. If you would like to find out more about our solicitors in Leicester please contact us.

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Andrew Robinson - Employment Law
Andrew Robinson - Employment Law
andrew.robinson@ehlsolicitors.co.uk 01509 212 108
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